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Mirman School, The3
Posted June 21, 2014
- a parent
I was so thrilled to find this school and had such high hopes for an exceptional education for my daughter here. I thought her out of the box thinking would be honored, cultivated and channeled here. Sadly, "intelligence" is defined at Mirman, for the most post, in the traditional fashion - "good at math," or "good at language arts" or "artistic/musical." We were surrounded by families who value acceleration for it's own sake, above all else, mainly in math. Some parents had had their children tutored in math since the age of 3. Others hired math tutors to compete with these "genius" children in the ridiculous number of math competitions ALL the students are required to participate in! There are a few other ways to shine at Mirman which also involve, yes, more competitions! "Obedient, rule-following, studious" types also do well here. The staff are lovely as people and mean well. If you can handle the bizarre "worship of math acceleration" sub-culture going on there and just want your kid to study traditional subjects with other bright kids, then go for it! If you are looking for innovative education to spark his/her drive and passion - look elsewhere,
Parents who have experience with other Los Angeles private schools, like myself, are extremely pleased with not only the quality of instruction at Mirman, but also the warmth and energy of the teachers and staff. Of course, not all of the teachers are equally passionate, but the few that were coasting by have been getting appropriate feedback from the very wonderful new headmaster and are either making changes or moving on. This is a time of transition for our 51 year old school. Bottom line, if you child is truly gifted, there is no other school for them in Los Angeles. Believe me, we tried fitting our gifted child into an elite traditional school. Gifted kids learn faster, dig deeper, intuit more, and can be frankly exhausting. Regular classrooms geared towards normal bright kids do not accommodate them well (that means you JTD, Brentwood, Villiage, Carlthorp.) I wonder if the parents who complain in these reviews have any personal experience with other Los Angeles schools. We are pleased with our children's peer relationships, the lack of snobbery and entitlement, the profound intelligence of the children, and we see common sense in the direction the school is taking.
They have some great teachers, and students. However, they could do better. Administrators are leaving weekly and there is no real explanation why. Also, the kids don't do much more than learn. It would be nice if kids had dance or the younger kids had theater. The emphasis seems to be on raising more money and enrolling more celebrity/rich children. I don't know where the board is heading, with all these obvious firings and celebrity kids, but I hope that the curriculum doesn't suffer. My child has been there three years, but I don't see her learning much more than she would in public school. A lot of the experience has been parents patting themselves on the back for getting into the school, but academics haven't met their expectations. Every one wants to sit and talk about how gifted their child is, but no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room because they've already spent so much money sending their kids to Mirman.
I am a new parent at Mirman and feel so blessed that my children are attending this school. We were at public and private school before finding a school that actually would cater to the needs of our children. Their interests in learning is fostered and the curriculum is without boundaries. Integrative learning and group projects help teach cooperation and teamwork. Computers are utilized for learning. My children find the staff wanting to teach; My children find the students wanting to learn. This creates an environment which fosters learning for the joy and excitement of learning; not for a state test. The children at Mirman play sports and some at very high levels. Although they are highly gifted and excel in learning they are still kids that play, socialize and enjoy just being kids.
Ask the current administration, none of which has any experience in gifted education, why teachers have left in droves, and celebrity children are allowed to hit, bite and torment classmates and teachers with no consequences, Ask the new headmaster about his lack of any expertise in gifted education. Indeed the minute he arrived we lost the head of the lower school who had been here for 27 years. Word has it that she left because the new headmaster refused to hold accountable the aforementioned celebrity child. Ask the current administration why some applicants do not have to take the Stanford IQ test that every other applicant had to take. Ask the administration why the teacher turnover rate is so and why they pretend room one is first grade, room two is second grade etc. and yet test those children with standardized tests a full grade lower? As the administration why they have canceled the enrichment trips and give virtually no homework? Mirman is not a school for highly gifted children. It is no different than other private schools looking to fill coffers for administration salary increases. Ten years ago the tuition was under $12k a year and now it is $30k.
The Mirman School has been amazing for our child: he is constantly engaged, he is learning to think creatively, and he is in a community of learners who highly value curiosity and innovation. The teachers, many of whom have been at Mirman for decades, are committed and passionate and the resources that the children have available to them are unparalleled. My sole criticism is that that admissions director, who was somewhat kept in check by the former administration, has allowed her apparent interest in celebrity and money to compromise her judgment. I am hopeful that the new head of school will take careful oversight of the admissions process and return to the values of the Mirmans who put the interests of the children as a whole above all other concerns.
I am now a freshman in high school and SO thankful I went to The Mirman School. All of the teachers are so passionate about the children and what they teach and really encourage the kids to find their own voices and develop a love of learning. The most important thing I gained from going to Mirman, is the love to learn. Even 3 years after leaving, I am still so fascinated by the world around me and I could have only gotten that from Mirman. After matriculating to middle school, there was a noticeable difference between me and my classmates. I absorbed information quicker, had better organization skills, and my cognitive skills were much more advanced. Mirman caters to every single child and there is a very strong sense of community. Not only does Mirman teach the mind, but they enrich the soul and hearts of their students (cheezy but true). The arts and language programs are stellar. For a while, the administration system was a bit shaky, but is on the right track now. Mirman shelters the children from unwanted influences, but does not coddle or suppress their ability to learn about the world around them. I would highly recommend The Mirman School for your highly gifted child.
I am a student of Mirman. IT IS AWESOME!!! The only reason that I could see you don't like it is if you want teacher to do everything for you. If you want that go to campbell hall and see where that gets you ^.^ Anyway, if your child doesn't feel challenged, thats because they aren't moving him up, and that is because your child's grades aren't proving he or she is ready. I hope you come to Mirman. The athletics are a bit rusty, however. I enjoy Mirman because their is such a mix in subjects.If you child has an IQ of over about 150. NOT EINSTIEN, HE IS THE HIGHEST OF ALL TIME, 190. That part is to the meanie who only takes his or her sons advice about Mirman. the one one star giver.
My kids each attended Mirman and there has never been a question that it was well worth the time and money sending them there. They will tell you that they had the best teachers and best academic experience of their entire schooling (and that's including their later Ivy League experiences). As a parent, what meant the most to me was how safe, comfortable and understood they felt. This was a place where they felt like they belonged and where they were able to grow and discover themselves without fear of being labeled odd or difficult. If you have a highly gifted child, you should move heaven and earth to get them into this school. They will never forget it.
I'll make this quick. It comes down to two things. One, the kids at Mirman are smart and are treated as such. Two, the staff at Mirman are simply their to guide, not really teach. This formula works great if you have a kid that really wants to learn in a certain area, but if your kid doesn't want to focus as much in another area. You will see a problem.
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